Giving Starts at Home: President's Challenge Fund Engages Community

Giving Starts at Home

An important element in promoting a philanthropic culture at AUC is to begin by one’s own community. Both faculty members and students are essential to fortifying this culture of giving. Mervat Abou Oaf ’88, ’02, professor of practice in the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication, is a donor to AUC and sees her gifts as “enabling our University to set its own track of success by attracting the best students and providing for those very students who are in need of our support.”

An AUC alumna herself, Abou Oaf added, “I feel I am cementing, with my own hands, the foundation for not only a great education, but also the greatest experience for generations to come.”

For Ahmed Tolba ’97, ’01, associate professor of marketing, associate provost for strategic enrollment management and AUC alumnus, AUC plays a vital mission and helps in drawing out student strengths. Tolba describes himself as a great “believer in AUC and its quality education. I decided to give to AUC because I know it will make a difference in the careers of future leaders.” 

Faculty, staff and student commitment to giving sheds light on the many faces that converge to make AUC a strong University and unified community. “It is always a privilege for me to give back to AUC. I spent the best years of my life at this University,” said Shahira El Sawy, dean of Libraries and Learning Technologies. “I am proud to be affiliated with AUC: as an alumna, librarian, administrator’s spouse, parent to AUC graduates, faculty member and dean.” 

Relieving Economic Pressures

Beyond a responsibility to the local academic community here at AUC, Abou Oaf further recognizes that, considering the specific economic challenges confronting Egypt, it is urgent that people understand “the vitality of education for the development of societies.” 

In President Ricciardone’s inaugural speech, he made reference to the same economic pressures weighing on AUC students, emphasizing that this is a moment in which it is crucial that we, the AUC community, “uphold our obligations to the coming generations of students.” During his speech at the Presidential Inauguration Gala Dinner, he described the cohesiveness of the AUC community, saying that “what really brings us together is a sense of responsibility, which is very important at this stage of Egypt’s life.” 

Each year, the graduating class shows its gratitude to AUC and its support to future AUCians by contributing to the Senior Class Gift. These donations are mainly geared toward the AUC Annual Fund, which supports a wide array of University functions, including scholarships, financial aid, the library, sustainability initiatives and research development. For Aya Emam, an undergraduate student majoring in graphic design and music performance, working with the AUC Annual Fund through the University’s work-study program has helped her “learn more about AUC.” 

The AUC Annual Fund, Emam noted, plays a major role in raising awareness among students of the importance of giving back to AUC, particularly during such difficult economic conditions. “It’s very rewarding to know that when we, students, give back to AUC, we are making a difference in the lives of other students and helping our country as well during these tough times,” she said. “It’s important to see that AUC gave us [students and alumni] a lot. AUC is a big part of us –– as students, our memories, our skills and our friends.”

Rising to the Challenge

Launched in October 2016, the President’s Challenge Fund is fostering AUC’s culture of giving. Through the challenge, President Francis and Dr. Marie Ricciardone pledged to match all donations made by AUC students, faculty and staff.

“What matters is that we all participate,” said Ricciardone. “A gift of any amount means that we stand together as one, solid community to support AUC.”  

AUC has already received some contributions to the Emergency Tuition Scholarship Fund, which helps ensure that no current student is forced to withdraw due to an inability to pay tuition following the floatation of the Egyptian pound. These contributions were made by AUC Trustee Mark Turnage and the sons of the late alumna, Nevine Loutfy ’74, who established the Nevine Loutfy Memorial Emergency Scholarship Fund

 “Together, we are committed to passing The American University in Cairo on to future generations even stronger than we have found it, revitalizing its strong legacy and culture of giving, of service and of excellence,” said Ricciardone in his inaugural speech.

You may make your gift to the Emergency Tuition Scholarship Fund, the AUC Annual Fund or any other purpose you select by contacting Farida Ahmed, associate director of gift processing, at ext. 2481 or Gifts may be made online at Faculty and staff members may also make gifts through a convenient monthly automatic payroll deduction.